Cassville man convicted of poaching wild turkey

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Cassville man has been convicted of poaching a turkey in southern Iowa.

Matthew K. McCullah, 30 of Cassville, was found guilty of poaching the turkey on April 20 near Moulton, in southeasters Appanoose County, Iowa.

Conservation officers were checking hunting licenses during spring turkey season in rural Appanoose County when they noticed one hunter constantly testing on his phone.

As officers continued down the road, they noticed two men come over a hill carrying shotguns, wearing hunting packs and dressed in full camouflage.

Jacob Fulk, an officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, returned to question the men. Fulk learned McCullah had killed a turkey with his shotgun but had not tagged the bird, which was tucked into the hunting pack he was carrying.

McCullah initially claimed he was serving as a guide and after his client killed a bird, the second bird came into the decoys and he couldn't help but shoot it. During the interview, McCullah admitted he did not have a hunting license for the state of Iowa.

McCullah said he was a free-lance videographer for hunting shows in the midwest and expressed concern that poaching a turkey was going to affect his ability to get work.

Conservation officers seized the equipment used to kill the turkey, including the bird and the shotgun.

McCullah was charged with illegally taking a wild turkey, not having a valid hunting license and not having a valid turkey tag. He was fined $720 for the offenses.

On May 13, McCullah was found guilty of the three charges and in addition to the fines, was ordered to pay $200 liquidated damages for the turkey to the Iowa Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund.

On Aug. 14, the magistrate ordered the $1,500 of equipment used to illegally take the bird be condemned to the state.

McCullah will lose his hunting privileges in Iowa for at least one year, in addition to all other states participating in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (IWVC), of which Missouri is a member.

Other participating states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, California, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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